The old coaches’ adage says a team improves the most between its first and second games. Seems that’s only natural; plenty of things in life improve the second go ‘round.
I’d like to think my parenting skills improved with little-girl-Prevost-number 2. I’m more relaxed, more confident, and have more fun.
Most U.S. presidents historically have more successful second terms. They’re more relaxed, more confident, and probably have more fun.
But you don’t have to be a parent or the president to know what I’m talking about. Heck, if you’ve ever tried your hand at a new recipe, for example, you know it’s usually better the second time. Last weekend I honchoed some bacon-wrapped, cream-cheese-stuffed-jalapeno-chicken on the grill.
Wow. You must try this at home. Cut some chicken into just larger than bite-sized pieces, spread on a dollop of cream cheese, add a jalapeno or two, then wrap in bacon and toss on the grill. Tell your friends they’re called SEC Banter poppers since “bacon-wrapped-cream-cheese-stuffed-jalapeno-chicken” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.
Where were we? That’s right — improvement from game one to game two. Only Alabama and Texas A&M fans can say there’s no room for their teams to improve in week two of this fledgling college football season. The former because the Tide looked disgustingly good in a rout of Michigan, and the latter because A&M didn’t play last week.
There’s plenty room for improvement, however, among teams in the SEC’s games of the week. Georgia heads to Missouri and Florida goes to Texas A&M in an historic day for the Southeastern Conference. In their inaugural trip to Columbia, Mo., the Dawgs’ defense could improve if suspended starters Baccari Rambo and Alec Ogletree return. They’ll need them to slow down Mizzou’s spread offense and dual-threat quarterback, James Franklin.
This is a scary game for UGA. First SEC game for the Tigers, at night in “The Zou,” and a bunch of fired-up fans as crazy as Missourians get, which I understand is quite excited. Though Mizzou head man Gary Pinkel has a sterling 9-2 record against current SEC teams, I’ll take Georgia in an overtime win.
UGA will know at kickoff how its SEC East rival, Florida, fared in the other marquee conference match up. Texas A&M hosts the Gators in the Aggies’ first SEC game and, if you think Mizzou fans will be pumped, wait until you see the A&M dorks.
The atmosphere will be charged at Kyle Field. Florida needed two late scores at home to beat Bowling Green last week. First-year A&M coach Kevin Sumlin is a sharp cookie and will have his team ready. The Gators may improve but it won’t be enough Saturday. I’ll take the Aggies in an episode of dorks gone wild.
Other SEC teams need to make strides in week two. Auburn hopes to avoid an 0-2 start and better watch out in Starkville against Mississippi State. Steve Spurrier’s Sakerlina squad didn’t look like world beaters against Vandy and East Carolina has been a thorn in the Gamecocks’ side. Some LSU fans are in meltdown mode after a perceived ho-hum performance against North Texas and look for improvement against Washington.
Here’s hoping the old coaches’ adage holds true for your SEC team this week. Improvement comes naturally the second time around. Even my SEC Banter poppers from last week could use some improvement. More jalapenos should do the trick. Give ‘em a shot and let me know how yours turn out.
Ben Prevost is a contributing columnist for The Times. Follow him on Twitter @SECbanter or contact him at SECbanter@hotmail.com.